If your summer travel plans involve air travel, whether you’re heading to a theme park, national park, or just visiting your in-laws, you may need a rental car when you get to your destination. Right now, rental cars are in short supply in many popular vacation spots, including Orlando, Hawaii, and Las Vegas. Here’s the scoop on the so-called “rental carpocalypse,” and some tips for how to secure affordable transportation for your summer vacation.
What’s Going On?
The travel industry had a rough 2020, and many organizations found creative ways to stay afloat. Rental car companies opted to offload a large portion of their inventory (which was in very low demand at the time), to secure available cash and avoid catastrophe. Add to that a pandemic-triggered global semiconductor chip shortage that’s disrupting auto production, making it difficult for rental car companies to shore up their fleets. The result? A rental car shortage culminated by low supply and high prices — a real rental carpocalypse.
Tips For Getting A Rental Car
Low supply means that many rental car companies will run out of available inventory during peak travel times. Plan to reserve your rental car as far in advance as possible, to avoid missing out. Make sure to contact Club Wyndham Travel and ask about rental car options. If your plans aren’t set in stone, don’t fret — many rental car companies offer flexible cancellation policies, allowing you to modify or cancel your reservation at a later time with little or no penalty (just make sure to confirm the cancellation policy before you reserve).
Check Alternate Pickup Locations
Picking up a rental car at the airport may be the most convenient, but it’s also the first to sell out. Many larger rental car companies offer rentals in downtown or urban locations away from the airport that tend to sell out less quickly than airport hubs. It’ll cost you the price of taxi or rideshare to get from the airport to the pickup location, but it could ensure you get the rental car you need (and potentially at a cheaper rate, too).
Rent From A Car Dealership
It’s a little-known fact that many car dealerships rent out cars at a set daily rate, and that rate is frequently lower than a traditional rental car company. Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota offer daily rental options, as do many others.
Rent Someone Else’s Car
Car-sharing options like Turo and Driveshare provide a forum that allows you to rent a car from a private owner. There are a wide variety of cars available and at significantly lower rates. You can even choose a classic car that you’d never find through a traditional rental car company.
Try Something Different
Many cities have low-cost options that tourists can use to see the sights. Things like bike rentals and public transportation can get you from your accommodations to local attractions and back, at minimal cost. Consider using a rideshare option like Uber or Lyft on occasion, and utilize resort shuttles where available. Some of the resorts in Las Vegas, for example, offer a complimentary shuttle to and from the Strip. Feel free to contact your resort’s front desk for their recommendations on getting around.
Restructure Your Trip
If all else fails, it’s OK to reset your expectations and go with the flow. Focus on attractions within walking distance of your accommodations, spend more time poolside, play a board game or two with the fam, and don’t forget to catch up on your ZZZ's. There are many ways you can have a wonderful vacation without a rental car — get creative, think outside the box, and you’ll make it work (and have a great vacation too).